Rogue Company Early Access Impressions – Tactical Counter

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Need another shooter in your life? We take a sneak peek look at the latest free-to-play title from First Watch Games (via Hi-Rez Studios), Rogue Company. Note that this is a Rogue Company Early Access impressions piece, and not the full review. We’ll reserve that one once the game’s complete and officially out.

Like many of Hi-Rez’s other games, Rogue Company is an online hero shooter. The gameplay comes in the form of a third-person, with each character having their own unique abilities. Surprisingly enough, while the title comes off the heels of appearing to compete with the likes of Overwatch, and other hero shooters, it doesn’t. In fact, Rogue Company sets itself to be more akin to the Counter-Strike series than it does with others in its genre. This is especially important, at least to console players, as there really hasn’t been a Counter-Strike-type of game on any of the three current big platforms.

Playing It Smart

It plays smart, in that it tries to be a shooter first before going to the hero route. This means that the gunplay mechanics are well focused on, as they feel tight and responsive to the player’s actions. There’s a sense of weight to these characters, something that many free-to-play titles lack. As for the Counter-Strike comparison, there’s a bit of tactical gameplay needed as lives are limited and weapons and perks aren’t handed out for free. Meaning that this uses a similar in-match store system where you accumulate money each round to be spent on new gear.

A welcome feature that certainly makes matches far more interesting. And as mentioned, because the team has decided to focus more on the shooter aspect of things, balancing feels fairer than most titles out there. I have used every single playable character multiple times without ever once needing to use their special abilities. Typical situations where you get overwhelmed by forces don’t get solved with clutch abilities, but instead your own performance. That’s not to say that the character abilities don’t come in handy as some feature self revive, remote revive, auto pinging, shields, and many others, but it’s clear that they really aren’t the main focus.

Another positive that I really liked about Rogue Company is the time to kill (TTK). Where many have failed, Rogue Company seemingly succeeds at providing a good balanced TTK.  You don’t die super quick where it’s to the point of who shot first wins, but you’re also not a giant sponge. It’s timed enough for a quick decision to be made; do you dodge behind cover? Or perhaps try and get the better of the enemy with more accurate shots? I think for online gaming it’s important for TTK to be just that, enough time to actually do something. I can’t tell you how many situations I have already been in Rogue Company where defeat was near imminent, yet I manage to squirm out the last second, due to simply being better. I think it’s great, and any shooter fan out there wanting something more skill-based will be happy with the TTK.

Sticking to the subject of balancing, the guns for the most feel just that. Some have a higher fire rate, others do more damage, but I don’t think I had much of an issue outside of shotguns feeling too weak and snipers being overpowered. I’m hoping for a bit of a buff to the shotguns, and while I’ve always felt headshots with snipers should always be one-hit, I think in Rogue Company case, a headshot shouldn’t be. This is just coming from what I’ve seen during matches where a single sniper could take out a whole team with ease.

Sweet Spot

I guess the biggest question is, with this being free-to-play, how much longevity can we expect? Well as it stands, the game only features eight maps with two game modes. Yeah, not exactly screaming with content if you ask me, and both modes really just cater to different demographics. For the hardcore players looking for some competitive objective play, demolition will be your go-to. It’s the same mode as seen in Counter-Strike, or more commonly known as Search and Destroy with one life. Personally I wasn’t a big fan of this, mostly because I played with randoms versus some friends. It definitely requires a great deal of teamwork.

The second mode is called Strikeout, the mode that First Watch Games is calling their casual mode. It’s essentially team deathmatch with a limited number of shared lives. This will probably be the mode that gets played the most, seeing that it’s more stressfree and gives you more game time than Demolition.  Additionally, it also has a capture point objective. While not that important to the scoring system, the capture point serves as a way to draw players into firefights. It’s a good way to ensure that players aren’t forcibly taking up known chokepoints in the maps just to reap easy kills. And for the most, all the maps have them well placed with the exception of Canals, a shipping yard. Once a team has secured a capture point, it is next to damn impossible for the other the recapture it. The choke points on that map are just unfair, so we’re hoping by the time it comes out of early access it’s layout is tweaked a bit.

Overall, for a title that is its early access phase, it shows much promise. It runs great, the gameplay is addictive, and most of all it’s fun. Content will come over time, though if you are interested in early access it may be wise to wait until the free-to-play version is out. That’s not to say its bad, you may just end up being worn out by the time new content arises. It’s definitely worth a check, and if publisher Hi-Rez plays this right, it could potentially be the next big thing.


An early access code was provided by the publishers for the PS4. Rogue Company tested on the PS4 Pro.

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